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Faculty of Arts and Social


School of the Arts and Media


Audio Culture

Session 1, 2016

  MUSC3805 Session 1, 2016 CRICOS Code: 00098G 1

UNSW Course Outline

Staff Contact Details

Position Name Email Availability Location

Course Dr Adam Hulbert consultations 108 Robert Webster

Authority 10-12 Tues

School of the Arts and Media Contact Information

Room 312, level 3 Robert Webster Building

Phone: 9385 4856

Attendance Requirements

• A student is expected to attend all class contact hours for a face-to-face (F2F) or blended course
and complete all activities for a blended or fully online course.

• Timetable clash - If a student is unable to attend all classes for a course due to timetable clashes,
the student must complete the UNSW Arts & Social Sciences Permissible Timetable Clash
Application form:

• Where practical, a student’s attendance will be recorded. The procedure for recording attendance
will be set out on the course Learning Management System (Moodle).

• A student who attends less than 80% of the classes/activities and has not submitted appropriate
supporting documentation to the Course Authority to explain their absence may be awarded a final
grade of UF (Unsatisfactory Fail).

• A student who has submitted the appropriate documentation but attends less than 66% of the
classes/activities will be asked by the Course Authority to apply to discontinue the course without
failure rather than be awarded a final grade of UF. The final decision as to whether a student can
be withdrawn without failure is made by Student Administration and Records.

• A student who arrives more than 15 minutes late may be penalised for non-attendance. If such a
penalty is imposed, the student must be informed verbally at the end of class and advised in
writing within 24 hours.

• If a student experiences illness, misadventure or other occurrence that makes absence from a
class/activity unavoidable, or expects to be absent from a forthcoming class/activity, they should
seek permission from the Course Authority, and where applicable, their request should be
accompanied by an original or certified copy of a medical certificate or other form of appropriate

  MUSC3805 Session 1, 2016 CRICOS Code: 00098G 2

• A Course Authority may excuse a student from classes or activities for up to one month. However,
they may assign additional and/or alternative tasks to ensure compliance. A Course Authority
considering the granting of absence must be satisfied a student will still be able to meet the
course’s learning outcomes and/or volume of learning. A student seeking approval to be absent for
more than one month must apply in writing to the Dean and provide all original or certified
supporting documentation.

• For more information about the SAM attendance protocols, see the SAM policies and guidelines

Essential Information For SAM Students

For essential student information relating to: attendance requirements; requests for extension; review of
marks; occupational health and safety; examination procedures; special consideration in the event of illness
or misadventure; student equity and disability; and other essential matters, see the SAM Policies and
Guidelines webpage:

Course details Credit

Points: 6

Summary of the Course:

This course sets out to acquaint you with the diverse and burgeoning field of Sound Studies. The field of
Sound will be situated in relation to current issues and polemics, as well as to historical, aesthetic, and
cultural contexts. We will assess the evolution of electronic media, and its influence on culture at large. We
will evaluate key moments in the practices of sound recording technology, electronic music, and sonic art.
Through readings, discussion, listening and ethnographic studies, you will engage with Sound Studies in
the Western tradition and beyond, thereby positing your own musical practice within a wider cultural
context. Themes addressed in a given semester may include: Sound recording technology and the impact
of media technologies on listening, performing and composing; The codification of listening; Sound, place-
making and soundwalks; Sound and memory; Noise; New media installations; The Mp3, compression and
the music economy; Radiophonics; Synaesthesia.

Student learning outcomes:

At the conclusion of this course the student will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the field of Sound Studies

2. Describe the important movements and key issues in Sound Studies
3. Deploy analytical, critical and listening skills
4. Engage in independent and self-directed learning
5. Engage with various sound media and audio cultures in a critical, informed and analytical way

Teaching Strategies & Rationale

Weekly assigned reading and listening materials will connect with the lecture material delivered in a given
week, and will inform the specific content of the tutorial discussion or presentation. Students are
encouraged, in lectures and tutorials, to engage in discussion and questing, informed by their critical
reading and listening on the subject.
  MUSC3805 Session 1, 2016 CRICOS Code: 00098G 3
Assessment – Note: assessment rubric for essay and journal available on Moodle

Essay (3000 words): Choose the topic from one week of this course. Identify 2-3 composers/sound artists
or works and discuss their contributions to listening and culture in the context of the ideas discussed in the
readings for that topic.

Reflective Journal (8 entries x 350 words): Journal questions and tasks are available on Moodle.

Exam: This is 50% multiple choice and 50% short answer. Questions will be based on the course materials.

Assessment Items to Learning Outcomes

Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the field of Sound Studies
Describe the important movements and key issues in Sound Studies
Engage in independent and self-directed learning

Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the field of Sound Studies
Describe the important movements and key issues in Sound Studies
Deploy analytical, critical and listening skills

Reflective Journal
Deploy analytical, critical and listening skills
Engage in independent and self-directed learning
Engage with various sound media and audio cultures in a critical, informed and analytical way

Assessment & Length Due date Feedback


Essay (50%) 3000 words Friday week 10 Via Moodle gradebook

Reflective Journal (30%) 8 x 350 words 8 posts required Feedback with indicative
throughout weeks 2-12. mark given in week 5.
Each post is due
Tuesday, 1 week after Grade only for final
the session of relevant assessment

Test (20%) Wed tutorial week 12 General feedback

available via in-class
discussion in week 13

In order to pass this course, you must make a serious attempt at ALL assessment tasks. This is a
SAM requirement.

Submission of Assessment Tasks

Students are expected to put their names and student numbers on every page of their assignments. If
you encounter a problem when attempting to submit your assignment through Turnitin, please telephone
External Support on 9385 3331 or email them on Support hours are
8:00am – 10:00pm on weekdays and 9:00am – 5:00pm on weekends (365 days a year). If you are
  MUSC3805 Session 1, 2016 CRICOS Code: 00098G 4
unable to submit your assignment due to a fault with Turnitin you may apply for an extension, but you
must retain your ticket number from External Support (along with any other relevant documents) to
include as evidence to support your extension application. If you email External Support you will
automatically receive a ticket number, but if you telephone you will need to specifically ask for one.
Turnitin also provides updates on their system status on Twitter.

Generally in SAM there will no longer be any hard-copy submission; assessments must be submitted
electronically via either Turnitin or a Moodle assignment. In instances where this is not possible it will be
stated on your course’s moodle site with alternative submission details.

Late Submission

If your assignment is submitted after the due date, a penalty of 3% per day (including Saturday,
Sunday and public holidays) will be imposed for up to 2 weeks. For example, if you are given a mark of
72 out of 100 for an essay, and your essay were handed in two days late, it would attract a penalty of
6% and the mark would be reduced to 66%. If the same essay were handed in seven days late (i.e. a
penalty of 21%) it would receive a mark of 51%. If your assignment is not submitted within 2 weeks of
its due date, it will receive a mark of 0. For more information on submission of late work, consult the
SAM assessment protocols at

Extension Procedure

• A student seeking an extension should submit a SAM extension application form (found in
Forms on SAM website) to the Course Authority before the due date.
• The Course Authority should respond to the request within two working days of the request.
• The Course Authority can only approve an extension of up to five days. A student requesting an
extension of more than five days should complete an application for Special Consideration.
• If a student is granted an extension, failure to comply will result in a penalty. The penalty will be
invoked one minute past the approved extension time.
• This procedure does not apply to assessment tasks that take place during regular class hours
or any task specifically identified by the Course Authority as not subject to extension requests.
• A student who misses an assessed activity held within class contact hours should apply
for Special Consideration via myUNSW.
• For more information, see the SAM extension protocols on the SAM policies and guidelines webpage:

Special Consideration

In the case of more serious or ongoing illness or misadventure, you will need to apply for Special
Consideration. For information on Special Consideration please go to this URL:

Students who are prevented from attending a substantial amount of the course may be advised to apply to
withdraw without penalty. This will only be approved in the most extreme and properly documented cases.

Academic honesty and plagiarism

Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of others and presenting them as your own. It can take many forms,

  MUSC3805 Session 1, 2016 CRICOS Code: 00098G 5

from deliberate cheating to accidentally copying from a source without acknowledgement.
UNSW groups plagiarism into the following categories:

• Copying: using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the
source or using quotation marks. This also applies to images, art and design projects, as well as
presentations where someone presents another’s ideas or words without credit.

• Inappropriate paraphrasing: changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original
structure and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone
paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit. It also applies to piecing together quotes and
paraphrases into a new whole, without referencing and a student’s own analysis to bring the material
• Collusion: working with others but passing off the work as a person’s individual work. Collusion also
includes providing your work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them
plagiarising at any time, paying another person to perform an academic task, stealing or acquiring
another person’s academic work and copying it, offering to complete another person’s work or
seeking payment for completing academic work.

• Inappropriate citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the
"secondary" source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

• Duplication ("self-plagiarism"): submitting your own work, in whole or in part, where it has
previously been prepared or submitted for another assessment or course at UNSW or another

Details of what plagiarism is can be found on the Learning Centre’s Website Plagiarism & Academic
Integrity website (, in the myUNSW student A-Z:
Guide and in Appendix A of the Student Misconduct Procedure

It is not permissible to buy essay/writing services from third parties as the use of such services constitutes
plagiarism because it involves using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own.
Further, it is not permissible to sell copies of lecture or tutorial notes as you do not own the rights to this
intellectual property.

If you breach the Student Code with respect to academic integrity the University may take disciplinary
action under the Student Misconduct Procedure (see above).

The Learning Centre also provides substantial educational written materials, workshops, and tutorials
to aid students, for example:

• Correct referencing practices;

• Paraphrasing, summarising, essay writing and time management
• Appropriate use of and attribution for a range of materials including text, images, formulae and concepts.

Individual assistance is available on request from The Learning Centre. Students are also reminded that
careful time management is an important part of study and one of the identified causes of plagiarism is

  MUSC3805 Session 1, 2016 CRICOS Code: 00098G 6

poor time management. Students should allow sufficient time for research, drafting and proper referencing
of sources in preparing all assessment items.

Course schedule and prescribed resources

Week Topic

Week 2 The soundscape: Acoustic ecology and field recording

1. Bernie Krause, 2012, ‘Chapter Three: The Organized Sound of Life Itself’ in The Great Animal Orchestra:
Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places, London: Profile Books, pp. 57-80.

Week 3 Schizophonia: Recording technology, listening and audile technique

1. Jonathan Sterne, 2003, ‘Techniques of listening’ in The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound
Reproduction, Durham and London: Duke University Press, pp. 87-99.

2. Elizabeth Thompson, 2004, ‘Electroacoustics and Modern Sound 1900-1933’ in The Soundscape of
Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933, pp. 229-240.

Week 4 Archeoacoustics: Architecture and the listening subject

1. R. Murray Schafer, 1992, ‘The Glazed Soundscape’ in The Soundscape Newsletter, Number 04,
September, 1992, pp. 5-7.

2. Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter, 2007, ‘Aural spaces from prehistory to present’ in Spaces Speak,
are you Listening? Experiencing Aural Architecture, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
pp. 67-126.

Week 5 Mobility: Selective soundscapes

1. Michael Bull, 2013, ‘iPod use: An urban aesthetics of sonic ubiquity’, Continuum: Journal of Media &
Cultural Studies, 27, No 4, pp. 495–504.

2. Brandon Labelle, 2010, ‘The street: Auditory latching, cars, and the dynamics of vibration’ in Acoustic
Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life, London and New York: The Continuum Publishing Group, pp.

Week 6 Occult Aesthetics: Acoustic space in VR, AV and video games

1. William Cheng, 2014, ‘Hearing Things’ in Sound Play: Video Games and the Musical Imagination, pp. 97-

2. Kevin J. Donnelly, 2014, ‘Occult Aesthetics’ in Occult Aesthetics: Synchronization in Sound Film, Oxford:
Oxford University Press, pp. 70-91.

3. John Broomhall, 2015, ’Grand Theft Audio’ an interview with Craig Conner and Will Morton,
AudioTechnology, 105, 26-30.

  MUSC3805 Session 1, 2016 CRICOS Code: 00098G 7

Week 7 Electromagnetism: Identity, perception and experimentation

Tara Rogers, 2010, ’Noise and Silencing in Electronic Music Histories’ in Pink Noises: Women on
Electronic Music and Sound, Durham and London: Duke University Press

2. Douglas Kahn, 2013, ’Pauline Oliveros: Sonosphere’ in Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth
Magnitude in the Arts, California: University of California, chapter 13.

Week 8 Noise: Culture, war and technology

Essential Readings:

1. Salomé Voegelin, 2010, ‘Noise' in Listening to Noise and Silence: Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art,
pp. 43-53

2. Jacques Attali, 1985, Brian Massumi (trans.) ‘Listening’ in Noise: A Political Economy of Music,
Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 6-15.

Week 9 Fragments: Cutups, repetition and capitalism

1. Elizabeth Margulius, 2014, ‘Earworms, Technology, and the Verbatim’ in On repeat: How Music Plays the
Mind, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 75-81.

2. William S. Burroughs, 1968, ‘The invisible Generation’ in Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner (eds.), 2013,
Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music, New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 334-441.

Optional extra (for the brave among you, a work of philosophy fiction or hyperstition):

Marc Couroux, 2013, 'Xenochronic dispatches from the domain of the Phonoegregore' delivered for Tuning
Speculation, Toronto 2013, available online at

Radiophonics and Plunderphonics: Composing (with) the social archive

Week 10

1. Alvin Lucier, 2012, ‘Tape Recorders’ in Music 109: Notes on Experiemental Music, Middletown:
Wesleyan University Press, pp. 103-106

2. Richard James Burgess, 2014, ‘The unfinished work’ in The History of Music Production, Oxford: Oxford
University Press, pp. 167-179.

Synthesis: Studio as composition, synthesiser as philosophy

Week 11

1. Brian Eno, 1983, 'Studio as a compositional tool’ in Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner (eds.), 2013, Audio
Culture: Readings in Modern Music, New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 127-130.

2.Tara Rogers, 2015, ‘Synthesis’ in David Novak and Matt Sakakeeny (eds.) Keywords in Sound, Durham
and London: Duke University Press.

Week 12 Performance, interactivity and algorithms: public, generative and reactive sound design

1. Nick Collins, Margaret Schedel and Scott Wilson, 2013, 'Further connections' in Electronic Music,

  MUSC3805 Session 1, 2016 CRICOS Code: 00098G 8

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press pp. 169-179

Optional reading for those interested in pursuing installation and site-specific works

David Toop, 2002, ‘Humans, are they really necessary?’ in Rob Young (ed.), Under-Currents: The Hidden
Wiring of Modern Music, pp. 141-152.

Week 13

No set readings

Course evaluation and development

Student feedback via CATEI evaluations of course content and learning and teaching methodology will be
completed each semester. The aggregate results and trends over time will inform continuous improvement
to course delivery.

  MUSC3805 Session 1, 2016 CRICOS Code: 00098G 9

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